By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (22-35, 51-75) will look to stave off a series loss against the Birmingham Barons (32-24, 65-60) tonight with a first pitch set for 8:05 p.m. ET from Regions Field.
With a loss tonight Jacksonville will have dropped their 19th series of the season, and their 10th of the second half. Jacksonville for the first time since early June is coming off back-to-back series wins.
In the bottom of the eighth of last night’s game, outfielder Eudy Pina took the mound in his professional pitching debut. While inheriting a pair of runners from reliever Juancito Martinez, Pina would offer up a sacrifice fly to Marcus Lemon. Pina marks the second position player to toe the rubber for JAX after Terrence Dayleg allowed two unearned runs on one hit vs. Mobile on 7/12 in a 12-4 loss.
The road struggles continue for the Suns, now posting the worst mark in the Southern League away from home at 21-41. Last night’s nine-run loss marked the largest losing deficit for the Suns on the road this season. On the 2015 campaign, the club has only notched three series victories away from Bragan Field.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville left-hander Alex Burgos against Birmingham righty Mark Blackmar. Burgos enters tonight’s start 1-1 alongside a 1.00 ERA in five appearances all out of the bullpen for the Suns. His last appearance came on 8/23 in this current series with Birmingham, in which he tossed a scoreless inning while not allowing a hit while walking and striking out one. Prior to his call up to the Double-A level with Jacksonville, the southpaw posted an ERA of 2.12 attached with 4-1 mark in 22 games and 38 and two-thirds frames pitched. The 24-year old was a former Detroit Tigers farmhand, after originally being selected by the club in the fifth-round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the State College of Florida. Burgos entered the Marlins organization courtesy of the 2014 Rule-5 draft.
Blackmar will take the ball 5-6 attached with an ERA of 3.55 in 23 starts with the Barons. The native of Texas, tallied a loss in his last start on 8/20 against Birmingham, in which he lasted five innings allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while walking four and striking out one in a 78-pitch performance. In the second half of the year the 23-year old has made 10 trips to the hill, and generated a 3.79 ERA while sporting a 4-2 record. Blackmar was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 16th round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Temple College (Texas). He entered the White Sox organization courtesy of a trade that sent major league outfielder Alejandro De Aza to Baltimore with Blackmar and righty Miguel Chalas coming to the White Sox.
The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season/individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.
Matchup: Jacksonville Suns (22-35, 51-75) @ Birmingham Barons (32-24, 65-60)
Starters: BIR: RHP Frankie Montas (5-6, 3.55 ERA) vs. JAX: LHP Alex Burgos (1-1, 1.00 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Terrence Dayleg finished a perfect 3-for-3 accompanied with a home run on Sunday night, and in his last seven games has put together an eye-opening .333 average. Infielder David Adams has tallied a hit in ten of his last eleven starts, including a walk-off base hit on Friday night against Mobile. Eudy Pina in his last six games has generated a .421 batting mark attached with four RBI and three runs scored. Centerfielder Kenny Wilson controls a seven-game hit streak and is batting .316 in his last five games.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Matt Juengel currently rests tied for second in home runs (16). Outfielder Kenny Wilson is third in stolen bases (31). Viosergy Rosa (69) sits third in walks generated while Elliot Soto (64) is fourth. Starter Austin Brice has the third-best K/9 ratio for starters (9.45) and is fourth in K’s (120). David Adams possesses the third-best on-base percentage (.399), and the S.L.’s ninth-best batting average (.294).